Learn more about our church by reading the glossary of Episcopal terms below!

From the Greek for “to follow”; a liturgical assistant (often but not necessarily a young person who serves in such various roles as crucifer, torchbearer, banner bearer, book bearer, candle-lighter and server.

An anthem said or sung just before the administration of Communion, beginning, “O Lamb of God.”

Statements of belief and promises made by baptizands and their sponsors, and the entire assembly, during the baptismal liturgy, and at times of the year as a renewal of those promises.

Abbreviated BCP; this is the official worship formulary of Anglican churches, the version used in the Episcopal Church is based on the English edition of 1662, revised in 1785-1789 to include portions of the 1549 version; further revised in 1892, 1929, and 1979.

The presiding cleric, whether bishop or priest at the Eucharist, and, by extension, at other sacramental rites such as a baptism.

Cup used for the win in the Holy Eucharist.

A pastoral rite, consisting of a reaffirmation of baptismal vows, with a blessing and the laying on of hands by a bishop.

(Yoo-kar-ist) From the Greek for ‘thanksgiving”; a names for the Holy Communion. The sacrament of Word, bread, and win (in which the elements convey the Body and Blood of our Lord) for which we give thanks, and through which we are nourished and strengthened in Christ’s name and sustained in baptismal unity in him.

Gloria: An ancient hymn of praise sung at the beginning of the Holy Eucharist in Christmastide and at other festive times, and as a canticle in the Daily Office; it begins with the angels’ song to the shephers, “Glory to God…”

Mixture of resins for ceremonial burning, symbolic of our prayers rising to God (see Psalm 141); one of the gifts of the Magi to Jesus on the Epiphany.

The appointed system of Scripture readings for the days of the church year. Also refers to the book that contains these readings.

From the Greek for “public works” (that is, work undertaken on behalf of the whole people); the worship of the church in general, or any particular worship service.

Entrance hall, lobby, or gathering space of a church building which leads to the nave.

From the Latin for “ship”; the section of the church building between the narthex and the chancel, where the congregation assembles for worship.

Offerings of bread, wine and money brought to the altar during the offertory.

The varying portion of the Eucharistic liturgy that is appointed for the day (or season) of the church year; that is, the texts ‘proper’ to that day which include the collect of the day, Scripture readings, and preface.

A priest who has charge of a parish, usually called by the congregation and instituted by the bishop, and having tenure; responsible for the spiritual oversight of the congregation.

The portion of Bread (and sometimes wine) not consumed as part of the Holy Eucharist, but retained in a special repository, often called a tabernacle, for distribution to the sick, and in some traditions, as a focus for devotional practice.

The song glorifying God beginning “Holy, Holy, Holy” and following the Preface in the Holy Eucharist.

Gesture of tracing the outline of the cross with the hand, as a mark of belonging to Christ in Holy Baptism (during which it is first placed on one’s forehead).

Vessel in which incense is burned; also known as a censer.

The person who carries the thurible.

A prayer invoking the mercy of the Holy, Mighty, and Eternal God, sung or said as part of the Eucharist or at other times.

The action of anointing a person with oil.

The lay governing body of a parish, responsible for the maintenance of the buildings and property, and for finances. (Formerly another name for the sacristy, or place in which clergy vested.)

A lay minister who assists the clergy in the conduct of public worship, especially in the marshaling of processions. The history of the verger dates back to the middle ages when the verger was the “Protector of the Procession, leading from the front.”

A senior lay leader of a congregation, having specific legal and ecclesiastical responsibilities.